SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury University men's basketball team will host at Capital Athletic Conference tournament semifinal game for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, when the Sea Gulls will welcome sixth-seeded University of Mary Washington to Maggs Physical Activities Center on Thursday, February 26 for an 8 p.m., tipoff.
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How we got here
After beginning the season 5-5 and since the turn of the new year, the Sea Gulls have gone on a 13-2 stretch, all in conference play, and are currently on a seven-game winning streak to catapult themselves into the No. 2 spot in the CAC. Salisbury defeated Marymount (Va.) University 71-63 on February 18 to move into sole possession of No. 2 in the conference to earn a first-round bye in the CAC tournament.
How they got here
Mary Washington won two of its last three games of the year to gain the No. 6 seed in the conference playoffs, before taking down Marymount in a first-round contest in Arlington, Virginia. Led by Eric Shaw's 17 points, the Eagles took their final lead with 9:48 to go in the game to earn the victory and advance to the semifinal round.
The Sea Gulls currently hold a 35-25 all-time edge in the series with the Eagles, while the teams are tied in conference play with a 22-22 record. Salisbury has won each of the past three meetings between the schools, including a regular-season sweep this year. In the confines of Maggs Physical Activities Center, The Gulls are 20-9 when hosting Mary Washington.
The last time we met
Salisbury hosted the Eagles on February 7 in an 85-69 victory, as four Sea Gulls scored in double figures in the game. Salisbury built a quick 13-2 lead in the first six minutes of the game and a 38-20 lead by halftime, before cruising to the victory. Sophomore Justin Witmer led the team with 20 points, while junior Wyatt Smith and senior Conor Strickland both netted 17; Strickland tallied a game-high five three-pointers. Junior Rocky Harris was the fourth Gull in double digits with 16 points.
Man in the middle
After sitting out the first four games due to injury, Smith has come on strong and provided an inside threat for the Sea Gulls, as a main cog of the team's late-season success. He has scored in double digits in 15-of-22 games played, including in each of the last 10. Smith has registered seven double-doubles on the year. For the year, he is scoring 13.9 points per game and pulling down 7.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 59.5 percent from the floor.
The Salisbury women's basketball team is also hosting a CAC semifinal contest on Thursday, marking the first time in program history that both basketball teams are hosting the round in the same season. The 2014-15 season has been one of big success for both teams, as they have combined for a 41-9 record, 31-5 in the CAC. Both teams have set their respective program records for CAC wins in a single season, as well. The men have notched 14 conference wins this season, two more than the previous CAC best.
The winner of the semifinal game will advance to the CAC championship game on Saturday, February 28 to take on the winner of the other conference semifinal contest between top-seeded St. Mary's College of Maryland and fourth-seeded Christopher Newport University.